“Curiosity kills the cat” may be a common term used but it sure did not kill this adventurous cat. In fact, it fattened him up even more~ LOL~ 😛 At times, we should just leave everything behind, go for a short excursion to some place secluded, adapt to its environment and find out more on what it has to offer. To my luck, I stumbled upon a small make shift café named Big Coffee along the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (Lebuhraya Butterworth-Kulim). The “café” served a variety of beverages from coffee, tea, chocolate to some local beverages.
If you are a regular at a certain coffee chain, you would know about volume for Tall (12 US fl oz/350ml), Grande (16 US fl oz/470ml), Venti (20 US oz/590ml) or even their Trenta (31 US fl oz/920ml – at times known as “Thirty”). What about something bigger (42 US fl oz/1.24L – at times known as “Forty”) with a cute container to bring home for just RM10nett? If more than a liter of coffee were to be too big for you, you can always opt for their so called “Trenta” size at RM7nett with a cute container or “Venti” size at RM5nett with normal disposable container. You can choose the color of your container too (transparent – RM5 each, big container without white base – RM7 each and big container with white base/football shaped – RM10).
Here’s my JUMBO SIZE “FORTY” Iced Horlick at RM10nett.
The best part of the deal is that you can order anything listed based on the price (RM5/RM7/RM10) and not on the type of beverage ordered. Beverages type which mostly are Thailand-imported include Vanilla, Mixed Coffee, Latte, Mocha, Milo, Red Tea, Horlick, Nescafe, Chocolate, Cappuccino, White Coffee, Green Tea, Classic Coffee, a variety of Cordial Juices and more.
Overall, I would say the beverage was quite concentrated with quite a reasonably quality thick plastic container. Though the sweetness could be a bit too much for my sugar intake, it was still a great bargain as the containers (RM7 & RM10 ones) can be recycled.
It’s not really hard to locate the little shed by the roadside but you have to slow down and keep a watch out for it as it could be highly congested at times. From Butterworth towards Kulim/Baling/Pengkalan Hulu via Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (Lebuhraya Butterworth-Kulim), you would need to pay RM1.60 toll. Upon paying and exiting the toll booth, drive another 11KM (pass Kulim Hi-Tech Park junction) and you would reach Big Coffee & Tea by the roadside on your left. When you see Dongwha Malaysia (Kulim Branch) on your left, slow down and drive another 250m ahead towards your destination. You can see the Sime Darby factory directly opposite the “café”. As this is an expressway with high traffic, please make sure that the road is all clear before making any turn. The best way to reach Big Coffee is to key in the GPS (5.487308, 100.600595) onto your WAZE app and set to go.
Name: BIG COFFEE
Address: Butterworth-Kulim Expressway roadside at Lunas, Kulim, Kedah.
Business Hours: 11.00am-6.30pm (daily)
GPS: 5.487308, 100.600595
Recently, I had a short trip out of Penang to visit a wall mural site at Pekan Semeling (錫米嶺/新文英 – GPS: 5.700010, 100.472375), a small town within Bedong (off Sungai Petani) in Kedah, Malaysia. It housed many mural arts by various artists at the back alley of some old and abandoned houses along Jalan Raya Semeling, 08100 Kedah, Malaysia. You can check out the wall murals at my FB Site. To fill up my stomach prior to visiting the wall mural site, I’ve decided to pay a visit to a restaurant 10 minutes or 7.5km away named Restoran Chuan Heang (全香茶餐室), along the old trunk road of Jalan Utama Alor Setar-Sungai Petani. The restaurant has its regulars swarming in continuously for its specially crafted mantou, none that you could find anywhere in Malaysia. Other than the mantou, you could expect to order some home-style Chinese dishes.
Let’s start by introducing the much acclaimed Steamed Mantou with Fritter (RM1.40nett/pc with minimum order of 4 pieces or according to the number of diners with more than 4 pax). Each of the delicacy would come with a somewhat square steamed mantou filled with a crispy homemade fritter plus a light touch of sweet BBQ sauce. As the crispiness of the fritter overwhelmed the taste from what were within, many diners had the wrong idea that it was filled with prawn, pork, etc. It was actually filled up with mashed fish, dried shrimps, shitake mushroom slices, chopped spring onions with a light touch of seasoning and wrapped in bean curd skin, prior to being coated with batter and deep fried to golden brown. It was indeed a rather unique way to serve mantou. However, as a seasoned food creator with a higher expectation on quality, I do find the item lacked of bites other than the crispiness from the thickly coated batter. The filling was barely 3mm in thickness, whereas the batter had expanded to ±25mm. Moreover, the BBQ sauce was not adequate to give the whole bite a juicy sensation. Well, I can’t complain much as it was indeed a rare creation and at a cheap price of RM1.40nett each.
Since it was lunch time and their Roasted Pork Trotter won’t be ready until 5.00pm, I tried their Braised Pork Trotter (RM24nett) instead. It was juicy and meaty with just some lightly spiced up gravy, accompanied with some vegetables and mushrooms. Though the flavors were quite adequate to go with a plate of hot steaming rice (RM0.80nett/bowl), it would be great if the kitchen had extended the time to marinate the trotter more to enable more flavors to seep into the meat. Alternatively, if you love this type of braised dish, I would recommend you to try out the more flavorful Braised Ham Hock at Zi Zai Restaurant in Paya Terubong, Penang.
Next on the list was the Steamed Prawns with Egg (RM14nett). This dish could be a love-hate dish for some diners as it used lots of julienned young ginger and Shao Xing wine. The dish practically had 4 butterfly-cut large prawns laid on top of beaten eggs with a generous amount of julienned ginger prior to steaming. When cooked, the dish would be garnished with some deep fried garlic in oil, a light touch of soy sauce and sesame oil plus some sprinkles of Shao Xing wine. Though it could be a bit strong for many, I quite like the dish due to the freshness of the prawns as well as the nice combination of flavors.
Lastly, I just ordered a simple Stir Fry Bean Sprouts & Pea Sprouts with Salted Fish (RM6nett). I loved this type of combination as bean sprouts could be rather soft if overcooked while pea sprouts could be rather fibrous if cooked alone. The kitchen got the heat right while maintaining the crunchiness of the vegetables. The added salted fish was also nice as they used a better graded one which was not too salty. It would be great if the kitchen would add in a light touch of julienned ginger and red chilies to pep up the flavors more.
Overall, it was still a satisfying and homely meal, considered that everything served on that day were fresh and cheap. It might be that Penangites tend to have stronger taste buds on flavors and it would take a bit of effort to get use to the taste of food in the neighboring states.
It’s not really hard to locate Restoran Chuan Heang (全香茶餐室) as it’s just along the old trunk road of Jalan Utama Alor Setar-Sungai Petani. Some may just label the road as Jalan Raya or Batu Satu but if you have a GPS gadget or even mobile application such as WAZE, just key in the GPS coordinates provided below and you won’t get lost. I’m sorry that you can’t key in the restaurant name as it’s not detectable on Google Maps or WAZE. To reach the trunk road, the nearest PLUS highway toll station would be at Sungai Petani (U – Utara). Upon exiting the toll plaza, keep to your right until you reach the traffic lights. Turn right and drive about 7.6km or 10 minutes away until you see a Caltex and Shell petrol kiosk next to each other on your right. The restaurant is just directly opposite the Shell petrol kiosk on your left.
Name: RESTORAN CHUAN HEANG (全香茶餐室)
Address: 374-375, Jalan Raya, (Batu Satu/Jalan Utama Alor Setar- Sungai Petani), 08100 Bedong, Kedah, Malaysia.
Contact: +604-458 3007
Business Hours: 11.30am-10.00pm (Closed Tuesday)
GPS: 5.733286, 100.511183
More and more home based bakers had popped up recently in Malaysia to share out their delicious delicacies. Well, I won’t mind indulging in more homely bakes since they have the strictest handling procedures without added preservatives, quality ingredients and the huge passion in the heart to bake the best for their happy customers. One such outlet is the Homemade Delicacies located in Lunas, Kedah, Malaysia. Their delicious homely bakes surely reflected the carefulness and conscientiousness of the master baker to excel in this industry. All you need to do is to call up the baker to place the necessary customized orders and door-to-door delivery to savor these delicacies.
One of the lovely cakes that I love quite a lot was their Mango Cake (1kg – RM79nett). Not only was the taste perfect for my boost of sweet tooth, it was gracefully decorated with a beauty of its own. It was elegantly presented and yet superbly flavorful with the generous amount of natural fruits toppings. The moist and spongy cake layers within had just the right sweetness from the chunks of mangoes and fresh cream. Mango lovers would surely fall in love with this cake at first sight. From the outlook of the cake, you can clearly see the passion of the baker, spending a huge amount of time, tediously applying layers and layers of sliced mangoes onto the cake, thus creating a winning entry. At least 5 quality mangoes were used to come out with such a cake. To avoid disappointment since quality mangoes can be quite limited to source, it would be advised to preorder the cake earlier.
Another of the most sought after cakes from Homemade Delicacies that we had tried was the Belgium Chocolate Cake (1.5kg – RM89nett). Every bite of the moist chocolate cake melted heavenly in the mouth with a high hint of imported Dutch cocoa powder with a mild bitterness from some light touch of coffee powder. The creamy melted chocolate cream (ganache) in between the cake layers had just the right sweetness that made the whole cake irresistible. Some bonuses of chocolate balls were garnished on the cake for a state-of-the art effect. Now this cake is reminding me to visit my usual Chocolate Buffet in Penang as well. Haha~ 😛
On top of the sweet treats available from Homemade Delicacies, there would also be some light savory finger food ideally for parties, meetings, picnics made to your orders. One of the options would be the Mini Tuna Quiche (RM27nett/ box of 9 pieces). The fillings were actually made out of beaten eggs with some cream (sour/yogurt) plus mayonnaise. It also had some added cheese combined with some well drained tuna flakes, tomatoes and cut olives. The fragrantly baked crust plus the nice combination of filling made these quiches nice snacks over coffee or tea. For stronger flavors, some sprinkles of mixed herbs (or even dill alone for seafood) plus a light touch of paprika or chili flakes would make them the perfect finger food for my palate.
As Mid Autumn Festival is just around the corner, Homemade Delicacies would also produce daily fresh mooncakes such as the Traditional Baked Mooncakes, Snowskin Mooncakes, Shanghai Mooncakes, Jelly Mooncakes and more. Of all the mooncakes, we had tried out the Shanghai Mooncakes (RM40nett/box of 4 pieces). The Shanghai Mooncake had the full fragrance from the quality butter, egg and flour. Each had some sweet pure lotus paste with one fresh salted duck egg filled within its soaring round shining shape. Very much different textured with a crusty bite compared to the traditional ones. The added pumpkin seeds on the surface gave it an extra crunchiness.
Other than that, we also managed to try out the many varieties of Jelly Mooncakes (RM30nett/box of 4 pieces). Some of the options we had tested out were the sweet corn, dragon fruit, green tea, chocolate and coffee. The new generation type of Jelly Mooncakes resembled the concept of those traditional ones with so called “fillings”. Basically, both the “filling” and “crust” were from the same compounds, with the “filling” being a bit firmer and stronger in taste whereas the “crust” had some evaporated milk added in for the extra creaminess. Somehow, my preferences were towards those more natural flavored ones such as the sweet corn and dragon fruit.
Overall, if you need to indulge in some heavenly homely bakes with the highest quality of ingredients. You will know where to find them now. Other options might include cupcakes, tarts, cookies, jellies and more. Most likely whatever you want, she might be able to pep them up for you. As these snacks and cakes are all home baked, you would have to call up Nicole Ann Ng to make the necessary orders and delivery arrangements.
Name: HOMEMADE DELICACIES
Address: Lunas, Kedah, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-492 1648 (Ms. Nicole Ann Ng)
FaceBook: Homemade Delicacies
Business Hours: Call up for delivery availability (within Lunas, Penang island and mainland)
Feeling stressed out from working? You should get a group of friends and head towards Pulau Payar Marine Park, about 35km (19 nautical miles: 1nmi~1.85km) south of Pulau Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia, 28km (15 nautical miles: 1nmi~1.85km) west of Kuala Kedah or 59km (32 nautical miles: 1nmi~1.85km) north of Penang Island, Malaysia for a day out adventure to explore one of Asia’s most beautiful coral reefs. That was what a few of us Malaysian bloggers and friends did last Sunday by applying through the online “Kempen Cuti-cuti MyKad” special promotion package (RM180 per pax) and it was a fun-filling experience for all.
We started out by gathering at the newly constructed Swettenham Pier check-in building and by 8.30am, we were already on our way, leaving behind the scenic view of the Penang island. Some of us did recharge our energy during the journey by having some siesta to get the best out of the package. We finally arrived at Langkawi Coral Reef Platform (100m from the shore of Pulau Payar) about 2 hours later.
Pulau Payar, being the largest and 3 other smaller islands, namely Pulau Kaca (northeast of Pulau Payar), Pulau Lembu (northeast of Pulau Payar and just next to Pulau Kaca) and Pulau Segantang (southwest of Pulau Payar) and have been collectively gazetted as the Pulau Payar Marine Park. These islands are the sanctuary for extensive range of marine organisms and fishes. Stretching 1.75km x 500m with an area of 31.2 hectres, Pulau Payar is rich in flora and fauna on top of the magnificent coral reefs. The island has small stretches of white sandy beaches for those who love sunbathing and casual strolling. Don’t forget to bring more sun-block lotion if you intend to do so, unless you are those who would want to be as tan as the Africans… LOL! If you are lucky, you might even catch some live actions of creatures on the shore during daylight.
There are also a few trekking trails for those nature shutterbugs. You can expect to see endemic flying fox, monitor lizards, shore pit viper, white-bellied sea eagle, crested serpent eagle, imperial pigeon and many other feathered friends. You would also see some amenities which would include picnic tables, barbecue pits, gazebos and restrooms at strategic locations for your personal needs. Picnics and camping are allowed but cutting of trees and open burning would be strictly prohibited. How I wished I had more time to explore the other side of the island for more nature shots.
What impressed visitors most would be the availability of Langkawi Coral, Malaysia’s first and only reef platform located at the Pulau Payar Marine Park. The 49m x 15m well equipped floating platform (with numerous changing/wash rooms, snack bar and dining area) would facilitate activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing, fish feeding to panoramic viewing of the marine kingdom. If that alone could not captivate your attention, glass bottom boat rides or diving can be arranged to various coral gardens to amaze you further.
If you do not intend to get yourself wet, there’s a tunnel-like Underwater Observation Chamber at the bottom of the platform (about 10 feet below sea level) to catch glimpses of the beautiful seabed filled with various seashells, shellfishes and slugs. With an average visibility of 9 to 15 meters of crystal clear blue water, I’m sure you would be impressed easily.
Do watch out for colorful soft corals and hard corals such as the deer antler like Staghorn, Boulder and Brain as well as fishes of all stripes, dots, spots and rainbow colors. It was a bonus in here for me as I caught shots of two main pelagic predators out there. One of them was the around 1m long Barracuda (locally known as alu-alu) which I would expect to be around 10kg or so, hiding under the platform awaiting its prey. The next was the Black Tipped Reef Shark of almost the same length as the Barracuda. Both were wonderful sights indeed.
I was praying hard that I could get glimpses of some of the more unique sea creatures as those shown on National Geographic Channel such as the moray eel, giant grouper (long tan 龍旦), ghost pipe fish, lionfish, nurse shark, giant trevally (kam koay) or even lobsters but they were so hard to detect in such a vast area within the few hours we had. Moreover, I was not in any diving gears nor having any underwater camera. What a waste! Anybody want to sponsor me an underwater camera? LOL! Anyway, here are some of the underwater shots taken by Chan with his water-proofed Lumix camera:
There was to be a shark feeding session in the package but it had been cancelled until further notice by the management. I guessed this could be due to too many of their staff been bitten while feeding those aggressive predators. Maybe those sharks had gotten larger than before and thus one day they would be as large as those in the “Jaws” movie. Well, at least I was lucky to capture the shot of one earlier. 😛 Don’t be despair as you would still have the opportunity to feed other smaller fishes that would not bite. Errr… unless they are real hungry as I got my butts pinched quite a few times while feeding them in the water. How careless! Haha!
Buffet lines featuring international and local food would also be provided in this package deal. There was more than 25 items on the buffet spread which included appetizers such as over fresh buns, butter and cabbage & carrot soup, salads such as capsicums, onions, cucumber, tomatoes, Cameron lettuce with a choice of thousand island or spicy Italian dressings, mixed fruit salad, coleslaw, chicken sausage with corn salad and tuna with French bean salad, tempting entrée such as five spice chicken rolls, vegetable spring rolls, spicy potato wedges, fish fillet, Western, Malaysian & Oriental cuisine such as beef slices stew, sweet & sour prawns, braised mushroom with mixed vegetable, fried turmeric chicken, spaghetti bolognese, fried seafood vermicelli, oriental fried rice. Desserts included fruits such as watermelon, pineapple and oranges, pudding and jellies such as or raspberry mixed fruit jelly, orange mixed fruit jelly, mango pudding and honeydew pudding, local delicacies such as brown sugar steamed cake (malai ko) and kuih lompang pandan. Tea, coffee and cold water are free flow too. Overall, the food was reasonable enough to fill the tummy after the many hours of sea activities.
One of the main highlights of our trip was the photo shooting of our current Miss Malaysia World 2009 1st runner-up, Stefanie Chua. All eyes, especially from those male foreigners, were glued to her almost at all times. Stefanie Chua, who was no stranger to many beauty pageants, also held the Miss Schwarzenbach Beach Beauty during the recent competition and also countless of titles from other pageants. The photography was shot by none other than our Heritage Wedding Photography 2009 winner and founder of Studio Moonspell, Mr. Patrick Soon. Here are some glimpses of the photography session.
Let’s hope Stefanie recovered fast from a little mishap that happened during the photography session. We won’t want this expression in her photos right? Here’s a complimentary photo by Patrick Soon. Boy! If I were to be younger, I would surely get him to shoot my autobiography. What a beautiful shot… minus that candid expression of course. Haha!
Here’s a short video on my experience there in Pulau Payar. Let’s hope I can share many more of such trips with you in the near future. Do enjoy watching. 🙂
Hey! Why are you still gazing the photos and videos in here? By now you should have booked the package deals for your coming holiday. All you need to bring along would be yourself, a large towel, your swim wear and some cash for some extra hired excitements at Langkawi Coral Reef Platform. Our package deal included return boat fares, taxes, PA Insurance coverage, buffet lunch and fun-packed activities. There’s always something to do for everyone in Pulau Payar and getting bored would be the last thing you would hear. Please book early to avoid any disappointments. Have a nice holiday!
Important Not-To Do Note:
1. Pulau Payar Marine Park is a protected marine ecosystem area and no angling of any sort would be allowed under the Malaysian Fisheries Act 1991.
2. Collection of any coral and aquatic life would be prohibited.
3. Never vandalize or stand on any coral reef as it took thousands of years for them to form.
4. No shampoo or soap is allowed.
5. Do not litter. Pick up your rubbish when you leave the island.
Other Useful Information:
1. Do check out the Marine Park Centre, operated by the Fisheries Department for further information by means of brochures, maps and videos. Make sure you get more information on the do’s and don’ts while visiting the island.
2. There are no accommodation facilities on the island and camping permit would be required to stay on. Permit applications can be obtained at Pulau Langkawi’s Kuah Fisheries Office (604-966 6464), Kuala Kedah Fisheries Office (604-7621 6700), Kedah/Perlis State Fisheries Office (604-734 2137), Penang State Fisheries Office (604-626 1002), Department of Fisheries Malaysia (Ministry of Agriculture) in Kuala Lumpur (603-298 2011). Get enough of drinking water and food if you intend to stay back for more days.
It’s rather hard to show you how to get there as the islands are so small that even Google Map would not show up. Luckily, Chan brought had a GPS around. Here’s how’s the islands would look like if we were to blow up the scale.
LANGKAWI CORAL REEF PLATFORM
c/o Langkawi Saga Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
16 Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Georgetown, 11200 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-899 8822
Fax: 604-890 6068
Email: [email protected]
GPS: 6.0654, 100.0433
Howdy from the Isle of delicious Asian food and the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Just call me Criz Lai and I am here to share with you on what’s the best food you can get in town as well as from many other parts of Malaysia.
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